Road Trip

                                                                             CHAPTER 1

12,000 miles. First taste of freedom

Ginger and Baby Beard
 Letting go...

       October 1, 2011 was the end of my 8 year enlistment in the Marine Corps, a day that seemed unattainable for so long. I was free from rules, regulations and boundaries, the time was now and the world was my oyster. I felt like I needed to explore and travel to as many different regions of my own country, after all, I did spend 1/3 of my life fighting for it and up to this point had never strayed too far from the east coast. I packed up all my belongings (which wasn't much) and headed west in my 1983 VW camper. My Bus had all the accommodations, two beds, stove burners, a closet, a sink and plenty of storage so gas and food were my only expenses. I figured no plan was the best plan, only to make the biggest loop possible around the country and in late  September I began this new chapter with an openness I've never felt before.
                                               Due to the time of year I was departing, a more Northern route seemed like the best way to begin before winter rolled through. With a road atlas by my side, I left Maine heading through the mountains into New Hampshire. So many oddities along the way, finding myself touring a maple syrup farm, an albino taxidermy museum and a house made of license plates in Vermont. Every day I was exploring a new place and meeting new people, following my bliss proved to be very enlightening. Crossing over into New York, a small town Fall harvest and music festival near the Adirondacks attracted my attention. Although it had been a dreary weekend, I met some wonderful people, listened to some great local music and even Ginger had some friends there! Also a few of my friends from back home just happened to be on their way to Rome, NY and came by for the weekends festivities. At this point in time I still believed in coincidences...


            Come Monday morning I had Rochester, NY in my sights to visit my friend Kaitlin and hit up a Keller Williams and Primus concert! I can't say I enjoy the fast paced city life but I did have a great time there. If you've never experienced Keller Williams live I highly recommend it. The venue was an old structure built in 1905 called "The Main Street Armory" it was a castle-like fortresses with soaring towers and served as the headquarters for Western New York’s 3rd Battalion during the civil war. In the early 20th century, the 35,000-square-foot main arena (designed originally for drill exercises) hosted circuses, concerts, balls, and auto shows..Needless to say both shows were unbelievable. Kaitlin also brought me on a tour of the Mount Hope cemetery.
U.S. observation deck
This is where Susan B. Anthony was laid to rest back in 1906. Susan B. Anthony was a prominent American civil rights leader who played a pivotal role in the 19th century womans rights movement, she traveled the United States and Europe averaging 75 to 100 speeches per year. She also happens to be the face on one of the most famous United States coins valued at one dollar. As it was time to continue west I thanked my friend for her hospitality and a spectacular natural wonder was only a few hours away. Niagara Falls! A majestic waterfall which separates the U.S. and Canada that I have always wanted to witness for myself. I could hear its enormous roar as I made my way down to a good viewing point, it truly was a giant. Bigger then I had ever imagined and  for a few hours I laid in the grass beside the falls, overcome by the sound of its greatness I felt so small. The Canadian side looked like a theme park, with rides, restaurants and hotels towering above. It had been a gorgeous day and lack of a passport made it impossible for me to cross over to explore the other side so I sat on a park bench for some good ol' people watching. Folks from all over the world come here for the falls and ride "The Maid of the Mist" to be right in the heart of it down below. Off to my left two older woman caught my eye, which at first glance looked as if they were dancing, after a few moments of observing, my guess is that it was some form of Thai Chi. For some time I sat there, mesmerized. Their dance was graceful, elegant and in harmony with each other. There is never nothing going on around you...
         I had found a nice spot to camp out that evening at a quiet boat landing area just south of Niagara, although I did have a visitor around 11:00pm from a local police cruiser but I believe my "Veteran" plates detoured him from investigating any further and he went on his way.That next morning I was heading down I90 alongside lake Erie and onward into the Buckeye State.


  1. I remember seeing you the first day out of the Marines, having a nice little G + T at the cas bar! It was so awesome!

  2. I truly wish I was able to experience something like that in my life. Unfortunately I didn't make the correct choices, I didn't go to college and I am now working paycheck to paycheck to pay the bills nevermind miss a year out of work. I would love to at least venture to your land. If you would accept teaching me a little bit more about the trade. I really want to live off the land but I am not fortunate enough to buy enough land to start. If you would like some company then let me know.

  3. Hi I would love to come but I'm not a rich man but could work off my stay, tell me what you want and it's done my e mail is take care brother